Friday, July 19, 2024

Kerala HC claims Lakshadweep comes under its jurisdiction

Kochi, June 22 ( IANS) The Kerala High Court has ruled that AHigh Courts have the power to conduct disciplinary proceedings against presiding officers of district and other subordinate courts under their jurisdiction, including in Lakshadweep.

A bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan observed that in the light of Article 235 of the Constitution, it is declared that the control over the district court and courts subordinate thereto mentioned in Article 235 of the Constitution of India includes the power of disciplinary proceedings against the presiding officers of district court and courts subordinate thereto.

And it further pointed out that the Kerala High Court has the power to initiate disciplinary proceedings against presiding officers of courts in Lakshadweep.

“Since the district court and subordinate courts in Lakshadweep are under the supervision of the High Court of Kerala, it is declared that the High Court of Kerala has got the power to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the presiding officers of the district court and courts subordinate thereto in the Lakshadweep Islands,” the judgment stated.

This was pointed out in a review petition filed by K Cheriyakoya, a former sub-judge/ chief judicial magistrate at Lakshadweep, against a December 2022 judgment of the High Court in which Justice Kunhikrishnan had directed the administrator of Lakshadweep to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him.

This direction was issued on a a plea moved by several persons alleging that while Cheriyakoya was presiding as a magistrate, he manipulated the statement of the investigation officer in a 2015 case in which they were involved.

After going through the facts of the case and allegations made against the former magistrate, the Court had passed “extraordinary” orders to place the magistrate under suspension pending enquiry so as to ensure that he doesn’t try to influence the witness or intrude into the documents.

Counsel for the Kerala High Court, which was impleaded as an additional respondent, said that control over the judicial officers of Lakshadweep was bestowed on the High Court.

Following this the Court directed to take appropriate action against Cheriyakoya and conduct a detailed enquiry about his action mentioned in the judgment in accordance with law. Until that process is completed, Cheriyakoya will remain suspended, the Court clarified.

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